A SOLDIER just back from Afghanistan was almost three times the drink-drive limit when police stopped him in Haslingden, a court heard.

Burnley magistrates were told how Anthony Zwierzanski, 24, had been seen driving around the streets in the early hours.

A headlight on his Fiat Stilo was out and his driving appeared to be ‘slow and awkward’. Officers spoke to him, smelled alcohol on his breath and he failed a roadside test.

He was taken to the town’s police station, where he gave two samples, the lowest of which showed 101 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35.

The defendant, of Malton Avenue, Whitefield, admitted driving with excess alcohol, on Helmshore Road, on January 18.

He was fined £495, told to pay a £50 victim surcharge and £55 costs and was banned for two years.

Zwierzanski had no previous convictions and the justices told him: “You were previously a young man of very good character.”

The defendant was not represented by a solicitor. He was accompanied to the hearing by his commanding officer, who handed the bench a character reference.

Zwierzanski told the court that at the time, he had recently come back from Afghanistan.

He added: “I have been finding it hard to adjust back to my normal routine. I have done something completely out of character, obviously under the influence of alcohol.”